Temporary power supplier Aggreko is to return £200 million to shareholders through a special dividend in June, despite suffering a fall in profits for 2013.
The Glasgow-based firm, which last week said that chief executive Rupert Soames is leaving to take charge of outsourcing specialist Serco, also proposed a 10 per cent hike in its final dividend after slashing its net debt by more than a third to £363m.
Pre-tax profits fell to £338m in the year to 31 December, down from £365m a year earlier, on revenues that were broadly flat at £1.57 billion, but shares soared 55p, or 3.5 per cent, to 1,628p as the numbers beat City hopes.
Chairman Ken Hanna said 2013 had been a “challenging” year for the group as military work eased off in Afghanistan and the post-tsunami rebuilding in Fukushima brought its largest contract in Japan to an end. The numbers also suffered in comparison with 2012, when the London Olympics boosted revenues.
However, Aggreko said it has made an “encouraging” start to the current year, which will see it supply generators for the World Cup in Brazil.
As well as extending contracts for diesel generators in Japan, the firm has signed a contract for a temporary 120 megawatt power plant in Libya.
Profits for 2014 are predicted to be flat on a constant-currency basis, but Aggreko said volatile exchange rates could have a “marked” effect.
The board recommended a final dividend of 17.19p a share to be paid on 27 May, taking the full-year payout to 26.3p. The additional £220m payment, which follows a £149m windfall in 2011, will see shareholders receive a special dividend of 75p.